Today is my daughter’s birthday! Certainly a day to celebrate, not only because she was born on this day but she’s also a wonderful person.
Unfortunately for me, remembering her birthday means remembering her birth which holds some frightful memories for me because I had a C-section.
I regret that many of my daughter’s birth memories weren’t so pleasant but I can’t change those memories. Today I look back at her birth as a day that my wonderful daughter was born. But there are also memories I’d like to forget.
Oh the MEMORIES…
From the very beginning of my pregnancy I was healthy and so was my daughter. I remember having little anxiety about giving birth and I was as prepared as any new mom could be.
Once I began labor things progressed very slowly, however. It took hours for me to dilate even to 3 cm. Once I reached 6 cm. I never progressed from there. It wasn’t until about 30+ hours into labor when my doctor told me I’d needed a C-Section.
Not really understanding why a c-section is necessary, my first thoughts were something must be terribly wrong. The possibility of losing my baby felt very real. Later on I would find out that I needed a C-Section because my daughter was experiencing difficulty passing through the birth canal. Did I mention that she was 9.6 lbs? Because of that she was also experiencing distress.
I had wonderful doctors who knew exactly what to do and my daughter was born healthy and happy. I was relieved. My husband and I were ecstatic and it seemed that the hard part was over.
But not so fast; this was in fact only the beginning of my memories.
From the moment they handed me my baby, which was about 3 hours after my surgery, I was in a great deal of pain. I didn’t understand that I needed to ask for pain medication. I simply thought they were giving me as much pain medication as necessary, when in fact they were giving me the least amount of medication and depending on me to ask for more as I needed it. Consequently I waited longer that I should have before I asked for relief. Unfortunately I suffered a great deal of pain in those first 12 hours.
Breastfeeding was the next hurdle. While in the hospital breastfeeding went well. I had plenty of help and I was confident my daughter was getting enough to eat. It wasn’t until I got home that breastfeeding went downhill. My daughter began having trouble latching on. Feeding gradually became more and more difficult until I finally gave up and went to the bottle.
But that wasn’t the end of the breastfeeding difficulties. My daughter eventually got colic. Feeling sore, discouraged from breastfeeding and unable to sleep I’d hit my wits end. Depression began to set in and I was overall feeling worthless.
Perhaps many of you C-Section moms can relate.
Things of course got better as they most often do but I’ve been left with less than wonderful memories of my daughter’s birth.
So why am I sharing with you all these uncomfortable memories of my baby’s birth?
Honestly, I’m not trying to be a downer or discourage moms who will need a C-Section. On the contrary. I want you to be unlike me. I want you to remember your baby’s birth as one of the happiest days of your life and without difficult memories. After all this is your baby’s most precious birth!
Here’s some personal advice I’d love for you to take to heart.
- Understand why C-Sections are needed and if you’re at risk for one.
- Research pain medications and learn what you will need to do to avoid extreme pain so that you can enjoy your baby and breastfeed comfortably
- If you know you will need a C-Section discover the ‘Gentle Cesarean‘. It’s quickly becoming an accepted, more“natural” approach to having a C-Section birth.
- Prepare yourself for a C-Section recovery at home. Preparation can make recovery so much easier.
- Understand the most common C-Section complications and how to avoid them.
- And invest in a baby sling so when you need to get stuff around the house done you have free hands but still have baby close by.
Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-Section birth, things can happen that leave us with less than wonderful memories, but the idea is to minimize problems and moments of distress. I want your baby’s birth to be one that is memorable, not miserable.
Take it from someone who wished I’d been better prepared. 🙂